Three hundred service members had been living at the four-story building at the airport in Beirut. There were 1,800 Marines stationed in Beirut at the time.
A multi-national force with units from France, Italy and the United Kingdom was also on peacekeeping duty in Lebanon at the same time.
At the same time the Marine barracks was hit, a suicide bomber drove a pickup truck full of explosives and crashed into a building housing French paratroopers. Approximately 58 French soldiers were killed in the attack.
This was the deadliest attack against US Marines since the battle over Iwo Jima in 1945
The bombing was traced to Hezbollah, a militant and political group that originated in Lebanon in 1982. Iranian
involvement was also suspected.
The Marines were criticized for having lax security at the barracks.
The commander of the barracks, Col. Timothy J. Geraghty, said in congressional hearings investigating the attacks that the compound was hard to defend because it was on flat ground and vehicles drove by it daily to access the airport.
Timeline:1982 - President Ronald Reagan
sends Marines to Lebanon on a peacekeeping mission.
October 23, 1983 - At 6:22 a.m., a truck carrying 2,000 pounds of explosives drives into the Marine compound in Beirut and crashes into the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regimental Battalion Landing Team barracks.
February 1984 - US troops withdraw from Lebanon.
1985 - The Inman Report is released. It finds that Marine officers did not take proper steps to protect the barracks against terrorist attacks.
May 30, 2003 -
A US federal judge rules that the terrorist group Hezbollah carried out the attack at the direction of the Iranian government. The ruling allows families of the victims to sue Iran
September 7, 2007 - US District Judge Royce C. Lamberth orders Iran to pay $2.65 billion to survivors and to family members of the service members killed in the 1983 bombing.
March 1, 2010 - A lawsuit is filed in New York City seeking to force Iran to pay the $2.65 billion awarded to survivors and family members in 2007.
March 30, 2012 - Judge Lamberth issues a judgment against Iran of $2.1 billion, to be paid to the families and survivors of the attack.
July 2013 - US District Court Judge Katherine Forrest rules to release $1.75 billion of Iranian funds, held in a New York Citibank account, to set up a fund for victims of the 1983 bombing.
July 9, 2014 - A federal appeals court affirms a 2013 ruling that $1.75 billion in Iranian funds should be awarded to the victims' family members.
April 20, 2016 - The Supreme Court
rules that the families of the 1983 bombing victims should be allowed to collect the $1.75 billion in Iranian funds.